The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2013 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD ½ Ton LTZ Review By Michael Bernstein

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Michael Bernstein Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

Is bigger really better, does size truly matter, regardless of the clichés the long and the short of it for Chevrolet and its massive SUV, the Suburban, the answer had better be yes because the 2013 version of Chevy’s venerable SUV brand is big on well big.

With its large cabin positioned atop 20” wheels the enormous vehicle dominated my drive way and the Crystal Red Tintcoat paint, a $395 option, ensured the ½ ton LTZ stood up and out. Despite its Herculean size the threshold to enter or exit the Suburban is relatively low, but if you need it there is a running board that runs the length of both doors.

So you won’t need a cape to scale the cabin and once inside the occupants are greeted by two couch-like bucket seats up front. All of the seats in the Suburban were leather appointed and very comfortable. Both the driver’s and front seat are power controlled and feature either a heat or cooling option available at a push of a button.

The interior’s features and the overall design project a clean and efficient look. The front section is divided by a massive center console that peaks at the arm rest. It is cleverly designed with a shallow, rubber lined cutout, which was perfect for an iPhone or other device, on the top surface and it also opens to reveal a large storage bin.

Other amenities like the two cup holders and a rectangular storage bin can be found in the center consol’s flat valley that extends into the vehicle’s center stack that includes the main control panels for the tri-zone climate and Bose audio systems.

Additional cut outs on the dash and in the roof lining feature push button control panels for other features including the headlamps, drive train, trailer gain and a remote garage door control of up to three different doors or gates.

The driver’s main IP is a cluster of six traditional round gages, two large ones bookended by a stack of two smaller ones. Sorry no virtual rainforest on display or in the case of the Suburban, no melting ice cap, just critical vehicle information presented in a straight forward manner and that’s where this brute really excels and where I believe it makes the case for inclusion in Chevy’s product portfolio that must compete for customers and relevance in today’s highly fluid marketplace that is dominated by ever changing economic conditions and environmental sensitivities.

Most of the features, amenities and accessories have an uncluttered design and are easy to access, except for the video monitor which was a tad small considering its size and it is positioned a bit low on the dash for my preferences, but the back end is enormous and contains two captain (America) chairs and a third row bench; both the bench and/or either of the captain’s chairs can be adjusted for comfort and moved, or completely removed, to increase storage capacity.

The Bose Centerpoint surround sound system, standard on the Suburban 4WD ½ ton LTZ, ensures your tunes can be heard without super hearing and when combined with the $2,535 “Sun and Entertainment Option” that includes two flip down video screens, a DVD player, headsets and a power sunroof, the Suburban’s cabin can be awash in sunlight or transformed into a private movie theater.

Front seat passengers will not be asked for more heat or to turn up the volume because the Suburban offers the rear seat occupants independent control of both the entertainment and climate control systems. This will ensure every trip is a blockbuster.

Now that’s what I call entertainment, but the true star of this really big show is the Vortec 5.3 SR V8 engine with active fuel management and the six speed automatic transmission. They combine to effortlessly propel the Suburban down the road to save the day or over an evil hill. It delivers smooth acceleration with enough power to tow up to 7,500lbs and it still gets decent fuel economy, earning a combined 17mpg from the EPA. That’s respectable and translates into a published trip range of 540 miles.

Additionally the braking, a 4 wheel disc, antilock system and the suspension, bolstered by the Stabilitrak stability control system, along with the Suburban’s overall NVH rating, that’s “noise, vibrations, hiss” or the rattles, squeaks and whines a vehicle omits, were huge, as is the sticker price.

The Suburban has a base MSRP of $58,440 and the 4WD 1/2ton, 4WD LTZ model has a final MSRP of $62,345 that includes options that topped $4,000. It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No it’s the Suburban and you don’t have to get mad to see one, just get to your local Chevy dealer.